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David Gregory LUDWIG





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: The victims ordered him to end a relationship with their daughter
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: November 13, 2005
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: April 28, 1987
Victims profile: Michael and Cathryn Borden, both 50 (girlfriend's parents)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on June 14, 2006

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David Gregory Ludwig (born April 28, 1987) received two life sentences in prison without parole for murdering Michael and Cathryn Borden on November 13, 2005. The Bordens were the 50-year-old parents of his girlfriend Kara Beth Borden, who fled with him after the murders.


The Borden and Ludwig families are both from Lititz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. While apparently not members of the same church, the two families are stated to be devout evangelical Christians, and each family similarly home schooled their children. David and Kara are reported by the Carlisle, PA Sentinel to have met in a support group for home schooled children.

Confrontation, murder, and arrest

According to the online Lancaster New Era (Lancaster, PA), November 16, 2005, friends of Ludwig and Kara Beth say the two were sexually involved. At the time, Ludwig was 18 years of age and Kara Beth was 14. The age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16; intercourse with a person under 16 and four or more years younger constitutes statutory rape. The parents of teens reportedly became concerned.

When Ludwig and Kara stayed out all night together, Ludwig was summoned to the Borden home for a confrontation, which culminated in the two adult Bordens being shot in the head. The press indicates that Kara's younger sister witnessed at least one of the murders.

An Amber Alert was issued for Kara, and the story became instantaneous national news. Ludwig and Kara Beth were apprehended in the central Indiana town of Belleville on Tuesday, November 15, 2005, after he front-ended his parents' 1998 Volkswagen Jetta into a tree, subsequent to a chase by police. The latter phase of this apprehension was carried live on all the cable television news networks. Ludwig waived extradition. Both were (separately) flown back to Pennsylvania.


Gregory P. Ludwig and Jane Ludwig are the suspect's parents. A search warrant of the Ludwig home was executed the same day as the Borden murders, and was reported on Thursday, November 17, 2005 to have recovered 54 firearms and associated ammunition.

The Indiana authorities recovered a .40 S&W GLOCK semiautomatic pistol from the Ludwig family car which is said to be the murder weapon. The Litiz Record indicates they also recovered a Colt 1911 pistol, a Ruger .45 ACP semiautomatic pistol, and a Ruger Mini-14 rifle. Another handgun from the Ludwig collection was reportedly found at the Borden home wrapped in a towel.

Additional items reported to have been seized from the Ludwig home by police were at least two computers and a number of video tapes. Among this evidence an 18 minute video was recovered where Ludwig and a friend are seen discussing and perhaps executing a home invasion; at one point, they discussed having forcible sex with Kara and her sister.

The funeral for the Bordens was held Saturday, November 19, 2005, at Lancaster Bible College. Kara attended. Press reports indicate that she sat with her siblings, and that no tensions between them were apparent. The adult Bordens were buried in a dedicated Mennonite cemetery.

Prosecution and imprisonment

The case is being pursued by Donald R. Totaro, District Attorney of Lancaster County. Ludwig has been charged with two counts of first degree homicide, one count each of sexual assault, reckless endangerment of a minor, as well as a firearms violation. An initial charge of kidnapping was dropped after prosecuters determined that Kara Beth willingly accompanied Ludwig.

Initially, Totaro had announced that he intended to seek the death penalty for the murder charges. However, on June 14, 2006, Ludwig agreed to a plea deal and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Authorities claim that Ludwig confessed to the murders at the time of his apprehension, and again while in custody. He is currently housed in the Lancaster County Prison.

Totaro has announced that Kara will not be charged with any crime, but local gossip is not treating her kindly. An orphan now, she has been appointed a guardian and is represented by legal counsel. Ludwig's lawyer has reportedly stated she willingly accompanied Ludwig in their three-state flight, and that surveillance tapes from places where the two stopped indicate she had ample opportunity to escape if she so chose.

In documents released Monday November 21, Kara has admitted she ran after him as he left the Borden home, and wanted to go with him, and get married.


Teen admits to killing girlfriend's parents, gets life sentence

June 14, 2006

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) A man who killed his 14-year-old girlfriend's parents before fleeing the state with her pleaded guilty Wednesday in a deal that spared him the death penalty.

A man who killed his 14-year-old girlfriend's parents before fleeing the state with her pleaded guilty Wednesday in a deal that spared him the death penalty.

David Ludwig, 19, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing Michael and Cathryn Borden inside their Lititz home in November after they ordered him to end a relationship with their daughter, Kara Beth.

Ludwig had little to say in court as he pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of reckless endangerment, statutory sexual assault and a firearms violation.

"By your useless and selfish acts, you destroyed and permanently altered the lives of countless people," Lancaster County Judge David L. Ashworth told him.

The plea deal bars Ludwig from speaking publicly about the case or profiting from it. County District Attorney Don Totaro said the Borden family also asked that Ludwig not make a statement in court, not even to apologize.

"They thought it was a bit late for any sort of apology," Totaro said.

The Bordens' two grown sons attended the hearing but left without speaking to reporters. Totaro said the Borden family endorsed the plea deal.

Kara Borden, her sister Katelyn and their younger brother now live with relatives in another state, said Robert Beyer, Kara's attorney.

"I think she's happy to get this behind her and recapture her teenage years," Beyer said.

Ludwig and Kara Borden knew each other through a support group for home-schooled students and tried to keep their relationship secret from her parents, who were displeased with their four-year age difference.

Police and prosecutors said the Bordens confronted Ludwig after discovering he and Kara Borden had been out all night.

After the talk, Ludwig used his father's .40-caliber pistol to shoot Mike Borden in the back of the head as he was going down the hallway to escort him to the front door. Ludwig then shot Cathryn Borden in the head from 6 feet away as she was getting out of a chair.

Kara Borden ran from the home after her father was shot, but a short time later willingly got into Ludwig's car, ostensibly to start a new life together.

"They agreed they were going to drive west as far from Lancaster County as possible," Totaro said after the hearing.

Ludwig, also of Lititz, initially was charged with kidnapping, but that charge was dropped after investigators concluded Kara Borden joined him voluntarily.

They were caught the following day after a high-speed chase that ended with Ludwig crashing his parents' car into a tree in Belleville, Ind. Neither was hurt, and Ludwig confessed to police almost immediately.

Warwick Township Police Lt. Edward Tobin told Ashworth that Kara Borden had not plotted to have her parents shot or killed. She was not charged with any crime.

"Some may question why a 14-year-old would get in his car after her father was murdered that's certainly a legitimate question," Totaro said.

Beyer said the girl didn't think about what she was doing.

"Kids make rash decisions under stress that are basically not understandable," Beyer said.

Ludwig received two consecutive life sentences for the murder charges along with 9 to 19 years for the other offenses. He also was ordered to pay restitution for funeral costs, counseling and damage to the Bordens' home.

The Bordens, both 50, were natives of Hannibal, Mo. He was vice president of Cadmus Communications Corp.'s Science Press Division in Ephrata, and she was a teacher and homemaker.

Ludwig received a high-school diploma last week during a ceremony attended by his parents inside a Lancaster County Prison classroom.

"He is not inherently evil. He is not inherently bad," his lawyer Merrill Spahn said after the hearing. "David Ludwig is a very troubled young man."


Pennsylvania Teen Pleads Guilty to Killing Girlfriend's Parents, Gets Life in Prison

CBS News

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

LANCASTER, Pa.   A man who killed his 14-year-old girlfriend's parents last fall and then fled the state with the girl pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

David G. Ludwig, 19, admitted killing Michael F. and Cathryn L. Borden inside their home in Lititz on Nov. 13 following an argument over his relationship with their daughter, Kara Beth Borden.

Ludwig pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, reckless endangerment, statutory sexual assault and a firearms violation. He told police he shot Michael Borden in the back of the head, a crime witnessed by Kara's sister. Cathryn Borden also was shot in the head.

After making the plea deal, Ludwig was immediately sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murder charges, plus 9 1/2 to 19 years on the other charges.

"By your useless and selfish acts, you destroyed and permanently altered the lives of countless people," Judge David Ashworth told him.

Lancaster County District Attorney Don Totaro had been seeking the death penalty.

Investigators concluded that Kara Borden joined Ludwig voluntarily but played no role in the shootings.

Ludwig had little to say in court Wednesday, except to answer the judge's questions.

Ludwig and Kara Borden knew each other through a support group for home-schooled students and tried to keep their relationship secret from her parents, who were displeased with their age difference. Prosecutors said the killings occurred after the Bordens confronted Ludwig the morning they discovered he and Kara Borden had been out all night.

A day after the killings, police caught the two in Belleville, Ind., after Ludwig crashed his parents car into a tree during a high-speed chase. Neither was hurt.

Ludwig's attorney James Gratton said Ludwig was concerned about the effect a trial would have on the community, the families and their churches.

He said Ludwig has been tutoring other inmates in prison.

"He retains the potential to do much good in an institutional setting," Gratton said.


Missing Girl Found Unharmed; Murder Suspect Arrested

November 14, 2005

BELLEVILLE, IN (AP) -- A Pennsylvania teenager suspected of killing his girlfriend's parents in an argument over her curfew was captured in Indiana on Monday with the girl in his car after a police chase that ended in a crash. The 14-year-old girl was not hurt, authorities said.

David Ludwig, 18, and Kara Beth Borden were taken into custody around midday after he crashed his parents' car head-on into a tree in Belleville, some 600 miles from where the killings took place.

Police were questioning Ludwig but had not spoken with Kara. Because of her age, Indiana and Pennsylvania law requires a relative, guardian or attorney to be present.

Investigators said it was not immediately clear whether the girl was abducted or went along willingly, but they were operating on the assumption she was kidnapped.

"It's completely insane, completely insane," Lancaster County, Pa., Coroner G. Gary Kirchner said. "This isn't a Romeo-and-Juliet deal. This is far worse than that."

Authorities said Ludwig shot Kara's parents, Michael F. and Cathryn Lee Borden, early Sunday after they and their daughter argued about her curfew when she came home late. The shootings happened at the family's home near Lititz, Pa., about 60 miles west of Philadelphia.

An alert for the girl was issued across the East, and police in Pennsylvania and Indiana investigated reported sightings of the pair as they made their way west in a red Volkswagen Jetta. They were stopped in Belleville, about 20 miles west of Indianapolis.

State police spokesman 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten said authorities received a report Monday morning of a vehicle matching that description at a truck stop near Fort Wayne. Troopers went to the area, but the car was gone.

Information about the car was broadcast to police statewide, Bursten said, and troopers spotted it around midday in Belleville.

Ludwig led them on a five-mile chase at speeds of 90 to 95 mph.

Trooper David Cox said Ludwig was "very reckless, very dangerous at that point," meeting vehicles head-on and running them into a ditch before he hit the tree.

After officers pulled Ludwig from the car, Borden got out and was frantic, screaming and crying, Cox said.

No weapons were found in the car. Police did not know why the pair were in Indiana.

Kara's 13-year-old sister, Katelyn, told investigators her parents were shot after they argued with Ludwig for about an hour, according to court papers.

Katelyn said she saw Ludwig shoot her father, and then ran into the bathroom, where she heard a second shot, presumably the one that killed her mother, court papers said. Ludwig then ran through the house calling for Kara, she told investigators.

The couple's 9-year-old son ran to the neighbors, who called 911.

Police late Sunday issued an arrest warrant for Ludwig on charges of criminal homicide and kidnapping.

Stephanie Mannon, 16, said Ludwig and Kara had been seeing each other secretly. "Their parents didn't approve of them being together" because of the age difference, she said. "It wasn't because he was a shady character, because he wasn't."

Both Ludwig and Kara maintain Web sites. Hers refers to interests in soccer, art and her Christian faith; his says he enjoys "having soft air gun wars" and claims expertise in "getting in trouble."

The Bordens, both 50, were apparently shot once each in the head, authorities said. Mike Borden worked for a printing company, and the children were home-schooled, said neighbor Tod Sherman. Sherman said the family knew Ludwig through a home-schooling network.

It was the second violent episode in a week in normally quiet Lititz, a Lancaster County village known for quaint shops, artists and Sturgis Pretzel House, which bills itself as America's first pretzel bakery. On Tuesday, police shot and killed a 23-year-old man after he shot and wounded an officer who had gone to his house to arrest him on a traffic charge.


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